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Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute: Advancing Research with Advanced Collaboration

- October 28, 2011 11:00 am

As the healthcare system faces the challenge of meeting the increasing needs of patient volumes from the Baby Boom, the existing model of “spend more to get more” just isn’t going to scale. We need to find new ways to detect and treat disease, and ultimately, reduce the incidence of illnesses by arming patients with advanced education and improved wellness coaching. The new Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute in Toronto is working toward these and other goals through a number of research initiatives, turning to advanced collaboration technologies to make their work more effective and efficient.

The Institute has research objectives that include demystifying the underlying causes of poorly understood diseases, pandemic response management and the social and ethical implications of health and wellness. This broad range of activity means that experts from around the world need to cooperate on these and other problems as they devise meaningful solutions to address them. In-person, face-to-face collaboration would be great, but flying around on airplanes just doesn’t make sense anymore. And phone calls don’t provide enough of a rich experience to work very effectively on these complex projects.

Instead, the new Li Ka Shing Institute has turned to a wide array of Cisco collaboration offerings that range from video phones to large-screen conferencing systems. This will enable a collaborative rich media experience for the researchers working on projects, whether they are at the Institute or anywhere else in the world.

The Institute’s Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre is equipped with a full-size operating room and features video conferencing units, including Cisco TelePresence, for live remote collaboration. This allows sessions and experiments to be recorded and stored for future retrieval and viewing by hospital staff. The simulation room, which lets full-time and training EMS workers tackle real-life medical scenarios, also features an anatomically correct mannequin that responds to the administration of oxygen, fluids and CPR.

This advanced collaborative experience isn’t limited to bridge teams working over long distances either. Inside the facility, they have virtualized the reception desk by using a way-finding interface, deployed by Toronto-based Jibestream Interactive Media, and video-based concierge service to greet guests. Also, workers can connect by video phone to verify the ID of visitors before they enter a lab facility and digital information signage has been erected throughout the facility.

We are honoured to have played a part in supporting the research at the Li Ka Shing Institute. We expect that their work will be accelerated, in part by the use of the advanced collaboration tools they are deploying. And given that I represent the tail-end of the Baby Boom, I’m looking forward to some of their work being ready to benefit me when I need it!

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